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Steve Wolfson, District Attorney
(Photo: Las Vegas Review Journal)
BY MARIE ANDRUSEWICZ -- Metropolitan Police Department continues to reform policies on officer-involved shootings following a review conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice. Now, a prosecutor from the District Attorney’s office will arrive on the scene to investigate the shooting, whether or not a fatality has occurred.
“For about 15 months, my office has been responding out to scenes where a citizen lost their life,” says Steve Wolfson, District Attorney. “What we’re doing now is we’re expanding that to include any time an officer discharges a firearm and one of our citizens is struck.”
The review of the Las Vegas Metropolitan policies and procedures by the Justice Department found a lack of transparency and accountability in officer-involved shootings. The department came under intense scrutiny for the shooting of disabled veteran Stanley Gibson, among other altercations involving civilians.
Wolfson thinks having a prosecutor from his office on the scene will lead to a more accurate assessment of whether or not the use of force was justified, and whether it was executed according to department policy.
“It’s really having our own set of eyes at a potential crime scene,” says Wolfson. “These are prosecutors that will be going into court and taking these cases into court on a regular basis. So to be able to have a first-hand look, it just gives us an added perspective.”
Wolfson says it’s good for the police to know the District Attorney’s office is out there, reviewing the evidence on the scene.
“Hopefully it adds to a heightened trust on the part of our citizens,” says Wolfson.